Soupman Inc. of 'Seinfeld' Fame Seeks Bankruptcy Protection

By Patrick Fitzgerald Features Dow Jones Newswires

Soupman Inc., of "Seinfeld" fame, filed for bankruptcy protection Tuesday, just weeks after a top company executive was charged with tax evasion.

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Federal prosecutors last month charged the company's former chief financial officer with 20 counts of failing to pay federal income taxes, Medicare and Social Security for Soupman's employees. The former executive, Robert Bertrand, has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The company, based in Staten Island, N.Y., licenses the recipes, likeness and name of Al Yeganeh, the man who inspired the "Soup Nazi" character in the television show.

"The combination of legacy liabilities and recent company developments have made it necessary to seek bankruptcy protection," said Chief Executive Jamie Karson in a statement.

The company has lined up a $2 million bankruptcy loan to keep its business running during the chapter 11 case. Soupman operates restaurants in the New York area and sells soups to grocery stores and online.

A Soupman representative declined to comment on the bankruptcy case.

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Soupman filed for chapter 11 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del., along with affiliates The Original Soupman Inc. and Kiosk Concepts Inc. The company listed assets of about $1.4 million and debts of approximately $11.8 million.

Mr. Yeganeh, the man who inspired the "Soup Nazi" character, opened his Manhattan soup store in 1984. Mr. Yeganeh's fame spread after a 1995 "Seinfeld" episode in which an irascible soup vendor, played by actor Larry Thomas, berates customers standing in long lines for his legendary soup, often yelling "No soup for you!"

The law firm of Polsinelli is handling the chapter 11 case, and Michael Wyse has been named the company's chief restructuring officer.

--Corinne Ramey contributed to this article.

Write to Patrick Fitzgerald at patrick.fitzgerald@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 13, 2017 20:50 ET (00:50 GMT)